The APCC has developed a framework of Professional Standards setting out best practice guidance for compliance consultants. We work with Members to ensure they meet the Professional Standards. In the event that they are not able to do so then, regrettably, their membership will be terminated until such time as they are able to meet the required standards.
As the need arises the Standards are developed and modified. Members will be consulted on proposed changes until broad agreement is reached, at which point the Professional Standard is adopted by the Board of Directors and member firms notified accordingly.
Professional Standards and Code of Ethics: The purpose of these Standards is to provide guidance to Member Firms on the minimum standards the Association expects all its members to meet on a continual basis. This covers such areas as standards relating to the firm as a whole, standards relating to client matters and standards related to the firm's consultants.
Experience and qualifications: These are recommended minimum standards for the experience and qualifications of members’ consultants. The APCC considers that each member firm should maintain an experience and qualification matrix (or equivalent) which documents that within the firm it has sufficient expertise to support the different areas in which it provides advice.
Procedures for dealing with failing clients: Where regulated clients are not able or willing to maintain appropriate regulatory standards consultants need to have procedures in place to recognise this issue and to develop an appropriate response.
Conflicts of Interest: The APCC requires that its member firms have a Conflicts of Interest policy which sets out how the firm deals with these conflicts. This lists examples of possible conflicts of interest which, if present, each require an appropriate procedure in place setting out how the firm manages the conflict.
Healthcheck reports to clients: This standard seeks to clarify what should be included in a full scope review of all compliance areas within a regulated firm and provides guidance on setting out any applicable scope limitations so that users of the reports do not over-interpret the findings of these reports.
Procedures on change of appointment: The standard is to ensure that where a compliance consultancy firm ceases to act for a client due to a professional disagreement (e.g. the client disagrees with the advice given by the consultancy firm or accepts the advice but refuses to act on it) that there is a procedure in place for the material facts to be communicated to the succeeding consultancy firm.
Complaints against Member Firms: We expect member firms to investigate promptly and thoroughly any complaints they receive about the firm's services and we want to ensure the professional and ethical standards of our member firms meet the reasonable expectations of their clients, other member firms and the regulator. If you have a complaint against a member firm you should give them an opportunity to address your concerns by contacting the person nominated within that firm to receive complaints, or the managing director or principal, setting out clearly the nature of your complaint and, where appropriate, the steps you would like the firm to take to resolve the problem. If it is not possible to resolve the problem this way you may ask the APCC to investigate the matter for you. Our contact details are: “The Chief Operating Officer, 15 Birkdale Business Centre, Weld Road, Birkdale, Merseyside, PR8 2DT or call 01704 553748